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NFL playoffs finally get tight games, road wins

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers throws for two touchdowns, but his biggest pass sets up a winning 51-yard field goal.

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Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers throws for two touchdowns, but his biggest pass sets up a winning 51-yard field goal.

The NFL postseason had produced a series of duds — until Sunday.

The Steelers thoroughly outplayed the Chiefs but repeatedly stalled in the red zone, settling for a playoff record six field goals from Chris Boswell and allowing Kansas City to get in position to tie it in the final three minutes. But when a penalty negated a two-point conversion and the second attempt failed, Pittsburgh was able to escape with an 18-16 victory and a date in the AFC Championship Game with the top seed Patriots.

In the NFC, the Packers' Aaron Rodgers made another brilliant clutch pass in a career full of them, setting up Mason Crosby's 51-yard field goal as time expired, giving visiting Green Bay a 34-31 win over Dallas and advancing the Packers to this Sunday's conference title game in Atlanta.

With the score tied at 31, Rodgers took a blindside sack — somehow holding onto the ball as he went down — to set up third and 20 at the Packers 32 with 12 seconds left.

On the next play, Rodgers jogged to his left with the clock winding down and threaded a perfect pass to tight end Jared Cook on the sideline at the Cowboys 32. A replay review confirmed that Cook made the catch just before any part of his body touched out of bounds with three seconds left in the game. Stories, 4C

Conference title games

NFC: Packers at Falcons, 3 Sunday, at Atlanta. TV: Fox

AFC: Steelers at Patriots, 6:40 Sunday, at Foxborough, Mass. TV: CBS

NFL playoffs finally get tight games, road wins 01/15/17 [Last modified: Sunday, January 15, 2017 11:44pm]
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